There's A Chance That Russell Westbrook Could Ultimately Get The John Wall Treatment If The Lakers Can't Move Him

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The second we all saw the Woj bomb about the Lakers trading for Pat Bev, I think most people figured that meant Russell Westbrook's days as a Laker were numbered. It's no secret they want to unload him, the only issue is there aren't exactly a ton of takers who are looking to bring on a player like him who happens to make $47M. Given their beef, it would be a little crazy to keep both Beverley and Westbrook on the same roster, even though for the rest of us non Lakers fans it would be wildly entertaining.

We know the Lakers were open to moving their 2027 and 2029 first round picks in a trade for someone like Kyrie Irving, but that rumor died on the table. We've now moved on to a potential Buddy Hield/Myles Turner trade with the Pacers, but everyone knows Myles Turner only gets put in trade rumors and is never actually traded. There were talks of some sort of multi-team trade with the Jazz/Knicks/Lakers in a bigger Donovan Mitchell deal, but so far the Knicks haven't caved to Ainge's demands. So, what's left for the Lakers to do if they can't trade this guy?


According to The Athletic, there's also this option

But the feud has always stemmed deeper from Westbrook’s side. He’s never forgiven Beverley for the knee injury, and Westbrook doesn’t seem to be the forgive-and-forget type. Beverley, for his part, felt Westbrook’s “Pat Bev trick y’all” comments in 2019 damaged his reputation. Their beef is up there with the most rancid in the league.

Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster by the start of training camp, either through a trade or the team sending him home a la the Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation.

You remember John Wall right? I wouldn't get on you if you didn't considering we haven't seen him play since April 23rd, 2021. That was 490 days ago if you were curious. It'd be one thing if Wall was hurt, but he wasn't. The Rockets simply told him to stay home and that they wanted no part of him moving forward. A little weird because Wall was pretty good when he did play in HOU, but they wanted to go the tanking/youth movement route, so Wall collected his $40M+ salary and didn't have to do a damn thing before ultimately reaching a buyout and signing with the Clippers this summer. 

The Lakers are obviously in a different situation. They are not tanking and have hopes of actually being competitive this season. It's why the Pat Bev trade made sense for them given his skillset and what the current Lakers roster needs. I can't really remember a time that a team who wasn't tanking tell a high salary player like Westbrook to just stay home. Even with his faults, that seems like a bit of an overreaction, especially when you look at their depth chart. I feel like once you go the John Wall route you can't suddenly change your mind and decide to play him, and I'm also not positive that all the Lakers issues were due to Russell Westbrook in the first place. 

Personally, do I care if the Lakers do this and it backfires? Heavens no. I prefer it actually. But I'm bias when it comes to that franchise, I can admit that. I hope they lose every game they play and this entire thing blows up. It's just a little crazy that in June we had the new head coach of the Lakers Darvin Ham say this

and here we are in August and there's a chance the team could tell Westbrook to kick rocks and stay home. At the end of the day I doubt Westbrook would be that upset, he still gets his $47M and can have a year to rest and then he hits the open market next summer. My guess is the biggest deterrent in other teams being out on Westbrook is more the $47M part and not his current talent level, so once that's off the table I bet there would be a market for him. He may have to play for the minimum or the MLE money or something, but there are far worse players currently on NBA rosters than this version of Westbrook.

Maybe this is why Westbrook was loving life the other day dancing in his car? I'd be pretty happy if my employer was going to pay me $47M to not work and just chill at home. Not a bad gig if you can get it.